Happy Saturday, y’all!
You may have noticed a few updates in your inbox today. I’ve been posting some new chapters of Terminus! Small changes were made to the Prologue and Chapter One ("meet the protagonist") is now live. Setting it back home in New Orleans really grounded the character for me and allowed me to pay homage to some of my favorite people/places/activities.
The other chapter that I’ve posted is Chapter Fourteen but, not to worry, it manages to be vague on spoilers while hinting at a subplot or two. It’s also into the philosophical meat of the thing, the fun part, where our isolated team of misfits realizes that they have a means of contacting the dead. I’m particularly enjoying writing the counterpoints of Veronica and Elias, the skeptical doctor and the religious physicist.
Rewrites are currently spiraling toward the climax, putting these characters through all kinds of uncertainty and trauma. (A sign of affection for writers - really!) Time to get back to it.
Thanks again for all your support! More soon!
We’re in the thick of it now. Deep in the wilds of creation, armed with a massive outline and prework on theme and characters, hacking away at the undergrowth to uncover the origins of the Terminus. Admittedly, I still get a little nauseous thinking about scrapping the original manuscript. “Killing your darlings” has to be the hardest lesson a writer can learn. But my editor was 100% correct in realizing that I had started the story at the end. We jumped into the destruction of the technology before allowing its full potential to be realized. Now it’s my job to get the whole talking-to-the-dead thing up and running, exploring its effects on the original creators before it was unleashed upon the world.
As far as progress, I’m comfortable with about half of the new draft at this point. It’s occurred to me that the original manuscript was written over the course of four years. When it’s divided up over that amount of time – mostly limited to evenings and weekends – you can almost forget just how much work writing a book can be. Now that I’m focused on it 24/7 – aiming for a chapter a day, making a continuous and proper study of the quantum mechanical foundations, and mining my own emotional trauma and relationship with death – well, I’m feeling it. It’s definitely a challenge that I can rise to, but that doesn’t stop me from reciting the names of my backers in a guilty mantra. You threw your support behind me, earned me the resources and professional help to do this right, but no matter how much I do a day on the new draft, it never feels like I’m going fast enough.
I guess I just want you all to know that I’m on it. I’ve got my feet under me, have finally put the corporate career on the back burner, and am making real progress. Daddy issues? Existential dread? I assure you, I can type through the tears. Just a little more patience, y’all. I promise, by the time this book hits your hands, it will be better than the original ever could have been.
I’ve been posting excerpts on Facebook and Twitter, if you’d like to follow along. I’d love to share more full chapters, though I’ve been stymied by the fact that there are currently three different versions of Chapter 1 (the protagonist’s squirrely status quo). I suppose we could skip ahead while still avoiding spoilers. My favorite bits so far have involved assembling the team of damaged scientists and letting them shout into the void. Like, so…
“I’m not sure of anything anymore. Definitely not entangled particles, or whatever the hell they were talking about. You tell me Charlie’s dead. I could have dealt with that. Eventually. Maybe. But now you people are telling me he might not be dead, or that he’s energy, like some kind of sentient lava lamp.” [Charlotte]
“What I meant was, your father lived. He set up camp on the edge of reason, sure, but he was intelligent enough to make it work. If this… if what we’re seeing is real…” She trailed off, her hands clenching into fists. “Maybe it was worth it. Maybe the bastard actually did it.” [Veronica]
“Inconclusive.” He shrugged, but his lips were set in a hard line. “The thing about dead people is, they’re dead. Nobody gets to come back from that.” [Augustus]
He chuckled. “Spiritual counselor to a dead man. Not that your father ever much listened in life. Oh, he indulged me, loved nothing more than to debate the untapped potential of the physical in philosophical terms.” His smile was fond, but he shook his head. “If the aim of a priest is to shepherd his flock into Heaven, I’ve failed quite spectacularly.” [Elias]
Anyway, this has been my break for the day. Time to fuel up and get back to it. Please know that I’m thinking of you, whipping myself along at maximum efficiency to get this bigger, better version of Terminus into your hands. I’ll keep you posted on official dates and whatnot, but for now it’s onward to the ending!
Yours (in the raw),
"Back to the desk with you, human."
Happy Holidays, y’all!
Just popping by to send you some cheerful, festive vibes! It’s certainly been a... year. A weird one, sure, but your support has kept me looking on the bright side, gave me the courage to take the leap and chase my dreams! A year ago, writing about death was a welcome escape from a dreary existence. Now, the project has opened up and become something that looks forward, something optimistic and even comforting. I’m still up the mountain, snuggled against the cold and getting my brood on, pushing to get the revised draft of Terminus to the editor by the end of January.
I’ll be posting more sample chapters and character profiles soon. In the meantime, check out this interview that I did with Christopher Lee for Indie Author Spotlight!
While Terminus finishes basting in editorial juices like a spooky holiday ham, I’d like to recommend some of the already-published Inkshares books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year. I’ve met so many quality humans during this process and the vast majority of us are in the same boat – indie authors taking our first steps into the wild world of publishing. It’s all about supporting each other. Check them out and show some holiday love!
Sorcery for Beginners by Matt Harry
A 13 year-old boy finds an easy-to-read, how-to manual for magic. Now he just has to prevent everyone else from stealing it.
The debut novel from my awesome editor. Engaging and expertly paced, Sorcery for Beginners makes use of its unique textbook format to build an unseen world of magic on top of our own. It engages readers in a wholly unique way, following the adventures of a relatable case of characters, while humorous asides add magical context to real world events. I enjoyed it as much at thirty as I would have at thirteen!
The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein
It’s the year 2147: a time of enduring peace on Earth. The Last War ended half a century ago. We can cure most ills, the air is pure, and teleportation is how we get around. Sounds great, right? So why does everyone suddenly want to kill Joel Byram?
You may have heard of this one. It was nominee for Goodreads Books of the Year and the film rights have been optioned by Lionsgate! Smart, charming, and fast-paced, Klein’s debut is a hell of a ride! Explores weighty questions of identity through a hero who’s chief skill is quick-thinking humor and an ability to manipulate the service machines that keep our world running. The overall conflict is delightfully twisted, but that would be a spoiler. Can’t wait for the movie, but everyone should definitely read the book!
The Last Faoii by Tahani Nelson
After her monastery is attacked and her sisters slaughtered, young Kaiya-faoii is left alone to fight back against a dark army and darker betrayal.
A great debut! Nelson has assembled a veritable army of sympathetic - and often tragic - heroes, that readers will gladly follow into the darkness. And it does get dark! War, family, mind control, the rift between the sexes, even the gods themselves... Nelson digs deep and the result is extremely satisfying!
The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz
Before the age of reason and science, magic ruled the world. Now, it’s coming back and if most of humanity gets wiped out in the process....well, sometimes you have to break a few eggs.
One of the most wonderfully strange and detailed worlds that I’ve visited in a long time. Weaves together strands of legend and history with a distinctly modern voice that left me both fascinated and cracking up.
The Last Machine in the Solar System by Matthew Isaac Sobin
He witnessed the end. Now he has a new mission. Hear his testimony.
This retrospective from a robot that witnessed the end of mankind is bittersweet and beautifully written, a great reflection on who we are.
Of course, I also have plenty of Inkshares books in the giant stack of to-read books by my bed. Can’t wait to crack these in 2018! Devil’s Call by J. Danielle Dorn, A God in the Shed by J.F. Dubeau, Sunshine is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan, and Nemeton: The Trial of Calas by Christopher Lee.
Good stuff! I can’t wait to join their ranks and finally get Terminus into your hands! For now... time to get back to it.
Hope you have a great holiday and a happy new year! Cheers, y’all!
Greetings, shiny happy people!
We’re off to the races! The developmental edit for Terminus has been a hell of an experience. I know I’ve already gushed about how much I’ve learned, how much the team at Inkshares has helped guide this story’s growth to make it something tight and tense and new. We’ve done beat sheets, character profiles, analysis of theme, and a meaty detailed outline. And now... IT’S TIME. I’ve gotten the green light on rewrites!
Quiet spot to brood on mortality? Oh, hell yes!
I’ll be keeping you posted as I dig into the meaty bits. I’ll also be sharing some of the pre-work to (hopefully) get you excited about the new direction. The first two character profiles for our leading ladies are up on my website and the rest of the team will be coming soon.
I’ll also be sharing the first draft of the prologue. It’s short, one of five such interludes that will be spaced throughout the main action of the story. We will see the early days of the Terminus, but the story is framed as being in the past, recounted by a spirit speaking through the Terminus itself. Their identity is intended to remain a mystery, revealed gradually through their analysis of the events that first allowed the living to speak to the dead.
More to come! And soon! But, for now... back to the writing!
Thanks again for all the love and support, y’all! Without you, none of this would be possible!
Hope you have a great weekend!
Happy Friday, boys and ghouls!
It’s fitting that I should be getting back on the promotional horse for Terminus at the spookiest time of year. Cold has finally come and I’m tucked away on a mountain with my laptop, reading about death and trying to spin an optimistic and entertaining story out of the premise of speaking to those who have passed on. Good times.
If you’ve missed the other updates, the story has really come together in editorial and my editor, Matt Harry, and I have fleshed out an origin story that gives the initial discovery of this technology its full weight. There’s also a cost to the technology that was only alluded to in the first manuscript, something that will add even more stakes to the question of the Terminus’s personal, political, and religious implications. I can’t wait to share the details, but let’s start at the top!
There’s a new summary up on the website. You can also check it out below:
Exploring universal spiritual questions through the lens of scientific breakthrough, Terminus follows a research team whose experiments with unexplored energy spectrums inadvertently uncover a window to the beyond. It’s a breakthrough that cost the project head his life, drawing his estranged daughter into the mystery of his death. She joins his team at their remote desert facility – the lab in which her father died – to hear his first messages from the other side. As they race to validate and refine the signal, the team is faced with the suddenly literal ghosts of their past, exploring the emotional, ethical, and societal implications of developing such a technology. They also uncover a flaw in the system that causes the contacted spirits to disintegrate, casualties of mankind’s search for life after death. When her father’s old partner attempts to take control of the project and bring it public, Charlotte must decide whether to destroy the Terminus or allow it to be unleashed on the world.
I’ve also posted the first of the character profiles over on my website, starting with the protagonist, Charlotte Rai. Profiles for the rest of the team will be added in the coming weeks.
Things are picking up! I am nested, inspired, and ready to rewrite! Stay up-to-date with the late night agony and self-doubt (all part of the process) over on Twitter.
As always, I appreciate every single one of you who has supported the book and gotten me to this point! If you haven’t preordered yet, the party is back on! Spread the word!
Hope all of you have a great weekend! Things may seem scary, but I firmly believe that there is something greater out there connecting us. Plus, ’tis the season to get spooky. Peace, y’all!
Greetings, Patient Readers!
I’ve gone and done it. Packed all my worldly belongs, piled all three dogs into the car, and made the six day cross-country drive from Virginia to Oregon. Moving and settling in have been a bit of a whirlwind, but I finally feel settled enough for the real work to begin in earnest.
During this whole blur, I’ve been in contact with my editor, Matt Harry, and we’ve put together a version of the book that is better than I could have imagined. We’ve gone through treatments and character profiles and outlines, and stripped the story down to its thematic essence. As someone who tends to meander after pretty butterflies while writing, this developmental edit was a chance to buckle down and put in the work. I’m not a scientist of any sort, but I’m enough of a nerd to be stoked just having books about quantum mechanics around the house.
That’s the core of it, walking the line between fringe science and the next horizon, building a system that both alludes to historical belief and leaves room for interpretation. No pressure, right?
The story that I had told in my initial manuscript was more of a second or third entry in what I hope to be a series of novels. First, we needed an origin story. If this is a story about a miraculous breakthrough, let us be there to witness it. How did it happen? What was the cost? Who decided to commercialize the technology and make it available to the public? Was there disagreement amongst those who made the discovery? Oh, you bet there was.
Rather than vague allusions to a creator who died to bring the machine online, we get to see his story unfold, witnessing first contact with the dead through the eyes of his estranged daughter. And that’s what this is for me – a story of family. It’s a story of fathers and daughters, of past and present, of legacy and identity. It’s a story of the strangers that we’re drawn to, of the unexplained resonance that we feel in the presence of others.
We’re hammering out the last few details and then I’ll have more news – new teasers, character profiles, and samples. I still can’t believe that I actually ran off to the woods to write. Hah! I’ll bite the bullet and be the madwoman on the mountain, ranting about the afterlife - so you don’t have to!
If you’d like to read more about the cross-country adventure, I’ve been writing it up in my blog. I’m also working on pulling together my portfolio, so I’ll also be posting new shorts and samples over on my website. (jayemilius.com, since my html doesn’t seem to be working.)
Hope things are good with you, lovely reader, and thanks again for your patience. Cheers!
Just a quick update to let you know that things are moving behind the scenes on Terminus. After some great conversations with the Inkshares staff, a lot of reading about craft, and digging in on story beats and character profiles, I’ve turned in my treatment for the rewrite. Without getting too deep into any spoilery details, we’re focusing in on the origin of the technology that allows the living to communicate with the dead. In the initial manuscript, the Terminus was already up and running, but the new take will follow the team that created it and the interpersonal drama as they come face-to-face with the literal ghosts of their past. I’ve been able to explore many of the same themes and questions, only within the microcosm of a smaller group of individuals, which makes it feel like a much more personal (and hopefully relatable) story.
My editor, the wonderful Matt Harry, has been sending me feedback that has my brain all a’tingle. We’re currently focusing in on the science and on ratcheting up the stakes. It really does feel like tuning an instrument. Too flat… tighten a bit more… just so. You can’t play until you have your foundation solidly in place.
This does mean that it’ll be a little longer before the book is in your hands. Those of you who’ve already preordered made enough noise to give me the opportunity – not just to put out a book - but to do so with the help of the pros and get this story in a position to be even better than I could have dreamed. There’s a lot of work ahead and I can’t wait to be fully unleashed on the rewrites!
But first… adventure! I have an unique opportunity to relocate to the West Coast and continue my job remotely while focusing on editorial for Terminus. You all have given me this shot and I’m ready to give it everything I’ve got! The move has also been a long time coming. My mother and sister live on the West Coast, along with some of my best friends, and it’s been years since I’ve seen them. We’ll finally be able to do holidays together! Plus, gorgeous Oregon scenery, freedom from Cubicle World and the chance to chase my dreams! Holy crap.
If a week of cross-country driving with three confused dogs sounds like fun, I’ll be blogging the experience over on my website. Plus, that’s 55 hours to immerse myself in Cosmos and podcasts. Researching and power-driving! I do love to multi-task.
I just wanted to say thanks one more time before embarking on this crazy voyage. “To infinity and beyond!”
Hey there, folks!
Happy summer! ‘Tis the perfect season to curl up in a dark room and ponder our mortality, right? Heh. I suppose I’m just speaking for myself, there. Weird hobbies.
I don’t have anything new to report on Terminus, though we are still in the editorial mix. Inkshares is a relatively small publisher with limited resources, so I’m in the queue with a lot of other great projects. I’ve also been lucky enough to be placed in a workshop with other authors who have projects slated for release in 2018. It’s a very cool approach, with on-the-craft reading assignments, worksheets on characters and story beats, peer feedback – basically a crash course in fundamentals from the Inkshares pros. (Even in my 30s, I still LOVE homework!)
This process has already taken the manuscript that I had and expanded the foundation of the story, especially when it comes to the origin of the technology that allows the living to speak with the dead. There are so many directions that this story could take, so many implications to explore, that my challenge now is committing to a handful of central threads and creating a solid introduction to this world. With any luck, I’ll be able to keep on exploring the world of Terminus in successive stories and work my way through this constantly-growing list of potential characters and scenarios. Thank you for daring to journey down this rabbit hole with me!
In the interest of not wasting this chance and giving you the best possible version of this story, I’ve also decided to take a step back from my day job for a few months. In August, I’ll be moving from Virginia to Oregon. Not only will I finally get to live near my mother, sister, and BFFs, but – with my savings and a lot of frugality – I’ll be able to put off the job search for a bit and focus writing. It’s a terrifying thought, unplugging after eleven years in the corporate world, but you all have given me a shot at my dream and I refuse to give anything less than 800%!
So, yeah, exciting things on the horizon. Scary things and lots of hard work on the editing front, but I am READY. Let’s get dead!
Ahem. In, like, a life-affirming way. You know what I mean. For all the apparent darkness, this is ultimately a story about optimism and the value of life. I can’t wait to share the new, evolved version with you! In the meantime, you can follow along with the process on Twitter.
Thanks again for your support and patience! Have a lovely summer!
Greetings and salutations on this most Monday of mornings! (here in the US)